Friday, October 12, 2012

The Green Among the Gray

“Embracing the warmth and the light, I am grateful for the green behind the gray...”

By Patrick J. Walsh

In the summertime, there is an abundance of undergrowth in the wooded area around the park. For a short while, the damage wrought by the area’s close proximity to the everyday activities of human beings gets covered over by a living bas-relief of grass and shrubs and bushes.

© Patrick J. Walsh
The luminescence of the green undergrowth, visible at some distance
behind the gray front of the treeline, conveys elements of revelation...

Shaded by the cover of green leaves that sprout on the branches overhead, the dirt that stretches over the roots of the trees remains moist in the heat of the late Spring and early summer, giving rise to a wide array of vegetation.

Lush green shoots of grass proliferate in the brown dirt, alongside tubular green sprouts of various types of flowering weeds, which mature into splashes of white and yellow and blue as they flower.

The amber leaves of adolescent trees form a screen that filters the harshest rays of the sun, while the brittle remains of leaves from the previous Fall, scattered along the ground, swaddle the grass shoots and the young weeds.

The variety and volume of plant life have lessened over the years since I wandered in the woods as a youth, but the cumulative effect of the green landscape is still a most welcome sight at the height of the summer.

Awash in the mingled foundation scents of fresh growth and moist wood, the aroma-scape is dotted with the occasional sweetness of honeysuckle, or the fruity zest of wild raspberries. Experienced in the lazy fullness of a warm, sunny summer afternoon, the smell and the scene almost seem to glow with a joyful aura of unbound youth, and ethereal possibility.

As remarkable as it is to experience the greenness of the woods within the shadows of the trees, however, it is only after you pass through the chapel of the leaves and enter into the park itself that the full effect of the summer growth makes itself felt.

Walking my usual route within the park, past that edge of the woods that borders the parkland, I glance absently into the nearest shady recess while I think of other things. And there, some thirty or forty yards off amid the gray bark of the trees, in a small space respectfully lit with a muted glimmer of daylight, a brilliant verdant patch of undergrowth is thrown into relief, as though it has been purposely uncovered for my view.

The luminescence of the green undergrowth, visible at some distance behind the gray front of the treeline, conveys elements of revelation in both its intensity and its beauty.

A slight stirring of air provides me with some relief from the heat of the sunny afternoon, as I stand at the edge of the woods, fascinated by the green among the gray.

I realize that my ability to view the small lea within the otherwise well wooded area depends largely on my position; had I turned to look a short while earlier or a short while later, I would have missed the sight entirely.

Embracing the grace of the moment, I marvel at the green for several moments before a feeling of equal force gently moves me onward.

Embracing the warmth and the light as I continue with my walk, I am grateful for the brief, cherished glimpse of the green behind the gray, and newly mindful of the beauty that hides all around, and within, the time and place and moments in which we live.

© Patrick J. Walsh

The Walk in the Park series:
• The Hawk

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